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White Heat is a stunning debut novel set in an utterly foreign culture amid an unforgiving landscape of ice and rock, of spirit ancestors and never-rotting bones. A suspense-filled adventure story that will captivate fans of Henning Mankell’s bestselling mysteries, this book marks the start of an exciting new series.
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By FernT on 09-27-11
I really enjoyed this story! The characters were very well developed and memorable, the narration was outstanding (leaving me with a no doubt false sense that I had a grasp of the Inuit language), and the plot and setting were great. Not the deepest book you'll ever read, but above average for a mystery, in my opinion. Listening to it through the heat of summer was especially refreshing as you enter a world where below freezing weather is comfortable and normal. A few inconsistencies in the story annoyed me, but they were quite minor (like the fact that she has a dog pack that conveniently appears in the story once or twice although she almost never has to feed or care for them). The dive into modern Inuit culture seemed (to my ignorant self) to be realistic, not overly romanticized as could so easily be the case. I wanted to spend time up there so badly by the end of the book....
26 of 26 people found this review helpful
By Susanna on 06-09-14
Excellent story, wonderful evocation of place
I came across MJ McGrath on a list of 50 Crime Writers to Watch, and on that basis bought this book, her first in the series. I enjoyed it so much I immediately bought the second one and am now listening to it. The lead character, Edie Kiglatuk, is a half Inuit Canadian living on Ellesmere Island, the northernmost inhabited area in the world. The story begins with Edie, a part-time guide, leading a pair of hunters into the cold icy reaches of the Island. One of the hunters is shot and killed, opening a tangled plot that twists and turns with unforeseen but connected revelations. While elements of the plot are fairly commonly seen in crime stories, the author does an excellent job of connecting the details to the environment and the culture in which the action takes place. It doesn't feel like a criminal plot that could have taken place anywhere, but needed to be in that place. And the evocation of place is rich and detailed without ever being pedantic. Clearly the writer knows this place and this culture. I think McGrath has a strong beginning toward carving out a place writing about the North and the Inuits with the same engagement, realism, and respect that Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo. And if you've ever read Hillerman (and really, you should) you know that is high praise indeed. I recommend this book.
The reader handles the material well, and in no way steps on or distracts from the story. Her style is fairly even and doesn't modulate with the events in the story very much, but this book is not harmed by that fact. It is an overall enjoyable "read".
17 of 19 people found this review helpful